Three years after he first promised to investigate the housing crisis, President Obama has finally announced the creation of a task force to examine mortgage and securitization fraud. One of the co-chairs of the new commission, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, joined MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Sunday to discuss what he expects to accomplish.
Schneiderman emphasized repeatedly that although the current wave of foreclosures is a serious problem, his real focus will be on what led up to it. "The housing bubble and the crash that brought down the American economy, threw millions of people out of work, and really just exacerbated the gap between the middle class and the wealthy -- that was man-made conduct," he explained "This was a man-made disaster. This was not a tidal wave or sunspots."
He added that one of his primary concerns is "to just stop these guys from rewriting history. ... You listen to some of the rhetoric in the presidential campaign on the Republican side, they're dishing out the same recipe for disaster that just blew up the economy a few years ago."
"The implications of this go way beyond securities fraud," Schneiderman continued. "There are implications for insurance fraud. ... Tax fraud is a possibility." He noted that the IRS, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and local U.S. Attorneys will all be part of the investigation, which gives him "confidence that we're going to be able to get at every aspect of this."
Schneiderman concluded by implicitly giving credit to Occupy Wall Street for the change in the climate of opinion which makes such an investigation possible. "This is not just about the president. This is about the American people having risen up over the course of the last year," he stated. The political atmosphere right now is so different than it was when I started this conflict over giving the banks a release a year ago. ... That's because of the grassroots uprising that's taken place across this country."
This video is from MSNBC's Up w/Chris Hayes, January 29, 2012.
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